Efim Bogoljubov (2589) - Alexander Alekhine (2743) 
[A90]
Hastings / Great Britain, 1922.  

[A.J.G.]


One of the prettiest games of chess ever played. And writer Irving Chernev's favorite game.  

The ratings are from statistician Jeff Sonas's website.  

 

1.d4 f5; (K-side play.) 
The Dutch Defense.  

2.c4 Nf63.g3 e64.Bg2 Bb4+!?;  (hmmm) {D?}  
This is OK, but theory avoid this move today, as Black's game is a little sterile. 

     [ Maybe better was:  4...Be7!?;  when Black has a fair game. ]  

 

5.Bd2 Bxd2+6.Nxd2!?, {D?}   
After this seemingly innocent move, White's Knights steps on each others toes for the rest of the game.  

     [ Best is 6.Qxd2!, "+/="  - GM A. Alekhine. ]  

 

6...Nc67.Ngf3 0-0;   8.0-0 d69.Qb3 Kh810.Qc3!? e5!;   
Based on a tactic, Black grabs his fair share of the center.  

11.e3!?,  (protection)  Guarding the center.   

     [ White cannot win a Pawn on e5, due to the hanging WN on d2: 
       11.dxe5!?
dxe5 ; 12.Nxe5?? Nxe5 ; 13.Qxe5 Qxd2; "-/+"  
        and Black has won a piece. ]   

11...a5!;  (prophylaxis)   
Black forestalls any Q-side play by White. (Stops b4.)  

12.b3 Qe8!13.a3 Qh5!;   
Black takes advantage of White's somewhat inaccurate play to begin a forceful demonstration on the K-side.  

14.h4!?,  (Maybe - '?!')   
Black will later regret this weakening of his K-side.   

     [ 14.dxe5! Nxe5; 15.Nd4! = ]   

14...Ng415.Ng5 Bd7; {D?}   
Black has played the opening perfectly.   

White's next is a little risky. ('?!') 
[I.e., White's idea is to kick the BN Knight off g4, but this results in a fairly substantial weakening of the King safety of the White King, owing to the (now) porous nature of the pawn cover surrounding Bogo's most important piece.]  

16.f3!? Nf617.f4!? e4;   
White's K-side is totally bottled up.  

White's strategy - for this game - seems to be to try and completely close the position, perhaps hoping that he can restrain Alekhine's flair for tactics ...  

18.Rfd1 h619.Nh3 d5!20.Nf1 Ne721.a4 Nc6!22.Rd2 Nb423.Bh1 Qe8!;  (Maybe - '!!')   
A truly great move. Black abandons his seemingly promising game on one side of the board, to go for an unknown type of game on the Q-side.  

24.Rg2 dxc425.bxc4 Bxa426.Nf2 Bd727.Nd2 b5!; {D?}   
Blowing open lines on the Q-side.   

28.Nd1 Nd3!;  (Outpost ... and '?')  
Black begins a magnificent combination... one of the greatest in the annals of chess.   

29.Rxa5!? b4! ; (hits c3 ...) 
Black's last move attacks the WQ, thus cutting down on the first player's range of options. 

Now the stage is set for one of the most fantastic combinations ever seen ... in any chess game ... ever!   

30.Rxa8,  (Possibly an error?)   
This move - by virtue of deep analysis - turns out to be rather inaccurate, although I admit it appears to be perfectly OK to me.   

     [ Possibly better was: (>/=) 30.Qa1, - Fritz 13 ]   

30...bxc3!!;  (Maybe - '!!!')  
Perhaps one of the greatest combinations and one of the most original concepts in any combination that was ever conceived over the board in a game of chess. 

     [ December, 2012:  Both Houdini 1.5 and Fritz 13 win in a more pedestrian manner with the following rather pedantic line:   
        RR30...Qxa831.Qb3 Qa132.Nf1 Ra8; "-/+"  and Black wins simply because of the totally un-coordinated nature of   
        all of White's army. (Black threatens ...Qc1; to be followed by ...Ra1, which will win material.) ]   

31.Rxe8 c2!!;  (Maybe - '!!!')   
One of the most brilliant and amazing chess moves of that ... or any other century.   

      [ White probably expected something like this continuation:   
         RR  31...Rxe832.Nxc3; "~"  
         when the first player probably has a playable position. ]   

32.Rxf8+ Kh733.Nf2 c1Q+;   
Black's second Queen in this game.   

34.Nf1 Ne1!;  (Threatens N-attack.)   
Threatens mate in 1. (Smothered mate!)   

The next series of moves are good, although the box prefers 35...Nc2.   
35.Rh2 Qxc436.Rb8 Bb537.Rxb5 Qxb538.g4 Nf3+!;   
This move leaves a pawn on f3 that could turn into a target, but Alekhine is unafraid. 
(Alekhine also sacrifices a couple of pawns.)  

39.Bxf3 exf340.gxf5 Qe2!;   (Maybe - '!!')   
Black ties White up. (White is reduced to cinders by the force of Zugzwang.)

White is sooo tied up here ... 
(Bogo is virtually in a state called Zugzwang, White has few moves that do not instantly lose the game.)   
41.d5 Kg8!42.h5 Kh743.e4 Nxe444.Nxe4 Qxe445.d6 cxd646.f6 gxf647.Rd2 Qe2!;  (What number?)   
Another Queen sacrifice. (White sees no choice but to accept ...) 
[Fritz likes 47...QxP/f4; here.]   

48.Rxe2 fxe249.Kf2 exf1Q+;   
This is Black's 3rd Queen in this fantastic game.  

50.Kxf1 Kg751.Ke2 Kf752.Ke3 Ke653.Ke4 d5+;  White Resigns. 0 - 1.  

(Maybe he does not want to see Black's FOURTH [4th] Queen in this game.) 

A magnificent game where Black played with unparalleled brilliance ... on both sides of the board! 

(Alekhine himself considers this perhaps the finest game that he ever played.)  

Copyright (c) A.J. Goldsby, 2001.   All rights reserved.  (Updated in December, 2012.) 

 

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